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Open mike 26/08/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, August 26th, 2012 - 48 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

48 comments on “Open mike 26/08/2012”

  1. Carol 1

    These are the REAL bludgers that the Labour Party should be talking about in key speeches. They are the ones that get most financial benefit out of our state infrastructure, and the ones that hoard their wealth, using every trick in the book to increase it at the expense of those that really need it. Shame on them!

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/7549236/Half-NZs-super-rich-dodge-tax

    Inland Revenue has found only half of wealthy individuals worth more than $50 million each are paying the top personal tax rate, despite Government moves to combat tax avoidance.

    There are about 250 New Zealanders with wealth in excess of $50m, deemed “high wealth individuals” by Inland Revenue.

    New figures obtained under the Official Information Act show a sample by Inland Revenue of 184 of those individuals, taken between 2009 and 2011, found 49.5 per cent had declared they had earned $70,000 a year or more. The rest declared they earned less. Those who earn more than $70,000 are in the top tax bracket and pay 33 cents tax in the dollar.

    The figure has fallen slightly from the Inland Revenue’s previous sample, taken between 2001 and 2008, which found 50 per cent declared they earned enough to put them in the top tax bracket. The top tax bracket over that period kicked in at $60,000 and paid 39 cents tax in the dollar.

    These tax dodgers are the people that know all the loopholes and speculative tricks, but have little sense of humanity, empathy for strugglers, or sense of responsibility to the well-being of others and society.

    • The article was also potentially misleading in suggesting that half of the uber wealthy actually pay their fair share of tax.  Certainly if you are worth $50 million plus it is extraordinary that you would only have declared income of less than $70 thousand.  But it does not measure the amount actually paid.

      A quick back of the envelope calculation would suggest that someone with $50 million worth of assets getting a 2% return on most of it and then dividing this amount by two for their partner should be earning $450,000 per annum.  I wonder how many of the uber wealthy are declaring this amount? 

      • muzza 1.1.1

        The framing also an attempt to take the focus away from the real issue, which is corporate welfare.

        Concerning self with a couple of hundred people, is simply another attempt at class warfare, to distract from coporate welfare, which is one of the core issues which has wrecked NZ, and will further do so!

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1

          Yep, and reading NACTs innovation list I see a hell of a lot more corporate welfare in our immediate future. I do think that the government should be putting more into R&D, I just don’t think that the government should be giving money to business to do it but doing it themselves, patenting the results and then making those results available to all NZ businesses.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2

        That’s easy – none. That’s why I like The Big Kahuna’s Comprehensive Capital Tax – taxes based upon expected minimum returns on the capital (physical and financial) rather than declared income. That alone gets rid of a hell of a lot of tax dodging.

      • BillODrees 1.1.3

        I heard the Minister for Revenue, Lord Peter Dunne of Ohariu,  today on radio say that the figureswere for a different period blah blah and didn’t reflect blah.

        Me thinks he is looking for donations from the wealthy.  

        • bad12 1.1.3.1

          Yeah sure the figures were for a different period and the identification of tax-fraud is bound to change dramatically after the ‘Hairdo from Ohariu’ has been around the country and sacked 500 of the Inland Revenue Workforce,

          It could be said that as Ohariu is one of the more monied electorates in the country that Dunne is just bowing to those who elected Him to the Parliaments wishes that they pay less tax,

          Dunne tho has certainly done their bidding on a country-wide basis with His little blitzkreig against Inland Revenue He has ripped the ‘local knowledge’ out of the capacity to collect revenue off of those who’s duty is to pay it,

          There’s a whole class of people, funnily enough their mostly well monied, who have the luxury of being able to spend an inordinate amount of time, money, and, energy evading paying their due share to the taxman, the likes of those who write the speeches of the Leader of the Opposition dishing Him up ‘bash-a-Bene’ lines to publicly spray about the place may well be among them, (the debate inherent there is if He in particular can legitimately claim the title of Leader of the Opposition),

          Tragically Dunne appears to be about to further tax the tax department by signing the Government up to significant ongoing and upwardly spiraling costs with an investment in yet another (s**t) computer system which will simply leave more and more of the collection of taxes,(if your not a wage worker),up to the personal honesty of those who are required to pay it and can’t you just see the belly aching laugh inherent within that last sentence,

          Toughening up on tax inspections/audits plus prosecutions and penalties would seem to be the best means of educating those in the Provinces who seem to treat taxation as they do in Greece, a sporting event to be avoided at all cost, cleaning out the ability of provincial Inland Revenue offices to collect tax and identify evasion/avoidance will certainly lower the figures for identified malpractice from those who object to paying their share of taxes but that just gives those evading the payment of taxes a get out of jail free card,

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland…/final-day-for-16-inland-revenue-staff

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/…/seven-staff-laid-off-at-inland-revenue

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday…/ird-cuts-short-sighted-greens-warn

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/…/economys-7-billion-black-hole

  2. Carol 2

    And this is the other side, where a corporate aims to increase its profit margin by abusing and underpaying it’s workers; workers who are earning just the minimum wage, and no doubt struggling to survive on what they earn after an honest days work.

    Good on Unite for making this public:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/7549274/BK-takes-grilling-from-long-term-workers

    Some Burger King employees say they have been working for up to 10 years on the minimum wage without receiving any performance or service-related pay rises.

    On April 1, when the minimum wage went up to $13.50 from $13, it is alleged many workers also lost a margin they were earning above the minimum wage. They were told they had to to earn back their right to that margin by completing “module” training. It is understood staff are being told they need to do the training in their own time.

    The female worker said it could take months to complete all the modules and at the end of it there was no guarantee of the pay rise.

    “You get the feeling the managers are all laughing at us,” she said.

    Another worker said when the minimum wage went up he lost his extra entitlement of 25 cents on top of the previous minimum wage.

    And when the union has tried to support such exploited workers, union members have been bullied and pressured to leave the union.

    Unite national director Mike Treen said about 200 people had been compelled to quit the union over the past three months with members’ hours being changed or staff told they wouldn’t be promoted if they didn’t resign.

    “This was done through bullying and pressure.”

    • RedLogix 2.1

      Thank you Carol. I too read both of these articles this morning and wanted to weep.

      But what dismays me most of all is how so many New Zealanders have normalised this. There will be plenty who read both articles and part of them cheered on the rich for being smart enough to cheat on their taxes, while at the same time mentally sneering at people ‘dumb’ enough to flip burgers for the minimum wage.

      • Carol 2.1.1

        Agreed, RL. And probably also some of those people will be at the front of the queue when it comes to bennie bashing. But that’s a result of the narrative that’s been foregrounded in the MSM and other popular media for a few decades.

        However, it’s interesting that the debates on Labour’s direction on the Standard have been getting quite a bit of MSM attention (eg in the interview with Cunliffe on the Nation this morning). There was a time when the main political blog referred to by the MSM was the “sewer”…. there’s a change going on.

        This indicates to me that the narrative is shifting. Just how and how much it is shifting remains to be seen.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.2

        Lots of middle class parents are starting to notice that there doesn’t seem to be much of a future for their kids out there in our current economy. Its hard to miss when your children in their late 20′s and early 30′s start asking you about moving back home to save money…

      • Blue 2.1.3

        These days the workhouse master would be the hero and Oliver Twist the villain.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.3.1

          Go read pretty much any popular fiction and you’ll find that it’s been that way for a awhile. I realised that after reading a forward by either Anne McCaffrey or Mercedes Lackey (I can’t remember which but both actually seem to have the same political beliefs, they certainly use the same hierarchical political model in their books) where she expressed surprise to find that a lot of her readers though she was of the left. Once I read that I looked at the books I read with a different eye and realised that heroes are almost invariably rich or become rich through the actions of a rich person who supports them.

          • Vicky32 2.1.3.1.1

            . I realised that after reading a forward by either Anne McCaffrey or Mercedes Lackey (I can’t remember which but both actually seem to have the same political beliefs, they certainly use the same hierarchical political model in their books

            I knew there was a good reason why I can’t tolerate their books (McCaffrey especially…)

    • Sailor Sam 2.2

      Burger King gets away with this because there are no jobs in NZ.
      Not one single political party is spelling out where 200,000 jobs are going to come from.
      Why – because they don’t know or they don’t want to know, or they know that these jobs will never happen.
      I am waiting to hear from all political parties where the new jobs will be.
      And I don’t want them to waffle on about it, I am looking for hard and fast statements.
      Will such statements come? Yeah Right!

      • Lanthanide 2.2.1

        The Greens have plans that would create tens of thousands of jobs, although I’m not really sure how long term a lot of them would be (riparian planting and such).

        • Jackal 2.2.1.1

          There might be a reduction in employment after a few years from such an enterprise, but riparian planting would be largely ongoing because plantings need to be maintained. There are also many additional benefits that need to be considered. It will for instance help reduce pollution in waterways, which is beneficial to our fishing and tourism industries.

          I think the long term sustainability of jobs in green growth areas is much better than plodding along with our throw away outsourced and low waged economy, and the evidence seems to agree:

          Earlier this year, the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts released an info graphic to show the truth about job creation from various sectors.

          A 2011 Brookings report also noted that:

          On a per job basis, establishments in the clean economy export roughly twice the value of a typical U.S. job ($20,000 versus $10,000).

          Median wages in the clean economy—meaning those in the middle of the distribution—are 13 percent higher than median U.S. wages.

          Korea for instance will create around 1.6 million new jobs by investing 2% of its GDP into clean and green growth initiatives as part of its fiscal stimulus package. If they can do it, why can’t we? Initiating targets and procedures to reduce green house gas emissions has also been shown to create jobs.

          Much of our ability to capitalize on green growth is dependent on international perception of how pure we actually are. That’s another area where National’s policy to increased environmentally destructive enterprises is economically detrimental for New Zealand.

          The cost of a 5% drop in reputation and consequent drop in demand for primary products and international tourism was reported (PDF) by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development to cost the economy more than 22,000 jobs, which is an annual direct loss of $455 million in primary product sales and a $155 million loss in international tourism.

          Nobody wants to travel to a country where the view is spoilt by oil rigs for instance or god forbid oil spills all over our profitable beaches. With tourism generating $20 billion and 1 in 10 jobs in New Zealand, gambling with an already established driver of the economy is in my opinion pretty damn stupid.

          The continued economic downturn that New Zealand has experienced to a greater degree than many other countries around the world could in part be due to National damaging to our 100% pure branding. John Keys Hard Talk PR disaster for instance would have cost us millions in lost tourism revenue.

          What we need to do is stop subsidizing polluting industries and use that money to subsidize clean and green initiatives. This would create jobs and stimulate the economy in many beneficial ways. It would also ensure New Zealand is doing its part to reduce the negative effects of climate change, which will in turn be far more costly than any benefit from continuing with the same old agenda.

  3. David Cunliffe is on the Nation this morning at 8 am …

    • RedLogix 3.1

      Again Cunliffe handled that superbly despite some pretty curly questions being asked. A good interview… and it’s really hard to imagine Shearer performing anywhere near as well. And for as long as that remains the case the ‘leadership’ question will keep getting asked.

      Which is unfortunate for both men really.

      • Carol 3.1.1

        I may not agree with everything Cunliffe said (he was too positive about Shearer’s Heartland speech, for instance). But he’s walking a difficult tightrope within the Labour Party framework. And he came across as quite passionate, statesmanlike and inspiring.

      • tc 3.1.2

        Good on DC for hanging in there against those in labour who don’t give a toss about a fairer NZ and belong on the other side of the political spectrum, the mallarfia.

    • just saying 3.2

      Wasn’t the “heartland” speech, that Cunliffe was eager to tell us there was nothing in with which he disagreed, the controversial ‘roof painter’ speech?

      • deuto 3.2.1

        The roof painter reference was in a speech to Grey Power in Auckland, a few days before his heartland tour and speeches.

        Here is the Grey Power speech

        http://www.labour.org.nz/news/speech-auckland-grey-power

        • just saying 3.2.1.1

          Thanks for clarifying Deuto.

        • Carol 3.2.1.2

          Ah, thank-you. I was influenced by the context with Cunliffe being asked about divisions in the Labor ranks, on TS, etc.

          So Cunliffe was selective about the Shearer speech he supported, and sidestepped/avoided the problems with the grey power speech. Clever. But then, Cunliffe DOES look to be fitting within the (current) Labour Party parameters, and, while he’s acknowledging more of the current economic and social realities, he’s not going to do too much to scare the horses.

      • weka 3.2.2

        Yes it was. Did Cunliffe say that specifically? That there was nothing in the speech he disagreed with?

        • mickysavage 3.2.2.1

          He said that he had reread the speech and there was nothing that he disagreed with.  The speech does not refer to sickness beneficiaries.

          • Molly Polly 3.2.2.1.1

            Thanks for clarifying that MS for those who mixed up the leader’s speeches.

            Cunliffe was superb this morning. Another good interview, as always. He was measured in his responses, he knows what the country needs re economic development, he states it clearly, and gives examples. You sense his passion and vision for New Zealanders getting ahead. And Labour needs people like him who can tell it how it is, who can resonate with ordinary New Zealanders and at the same time be supportive of businesses and manufacturers. You want to listen to him. He is believeable. He is smart. He is loyal.

            • Draco T Bastard 3.2.2.1.1.1

              he knows what the country needs re economic development,

              No he doesn’t. He knows what capitalism needs and like most economists and politicians, seemingly has NFI WTF the country needs.

            • BillODrees 3.2.2.1.1.2

              http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2012/08/cunliffe-has-eyes-on-prize/
               
              Cunliffe gave a least two very good performances this week.  The one Parliament was excellent.  The one on The Nation on TV3 was very very good too.   The holiday/study tour was valuable in so so many ways!  
               

               
            • David H 3.2.2.1.1.3

              And that’s it in a nutshell Molly. “You want to listen to him. He is believeable. He is smart. He is loyal.”

              And you CANNOT say that about any other of the crowd that’s in Charge at the moment. Me. Until Labour have a complete clean out. Rotton Ducks included I will vote Green. At least I still like what they say.

  4. North 4

    At last, at last – Sir Andrew Tipping in his valedictory sitting as a judge of the Supreme Court (completing 26 years as a judge of the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court variously) has addressed the utterly hamfisted (my words) and wasteful attacks on the legal aid system by this government – see Stuff.co.nz today.

    Some time ago I raised this very matter, particularly in relation to criminal legal aid, on The Standard. Your usually rational contributor “Ad” sneeringly came back with something to the effect – “…..let’s weep for all the lawyers then…..”.

    I look forward to Ad’s reaction to Justice Tipping’s comments, having sufficiently informed him/herself, rather than ignorantly contributing to the anti-legal aid lawyer culture advisedly whipped up by Power/Bazley and others to smokescreen the effective gutting of legal aid.

  5. weka 5

    Lynn, for the second time in two days this bug has occurred. I open pages from the comments list by using command click (this opens each pages in a new tab). Today, I’ve opened five comments and instead of the pages opening to the comment I’ve clicked on, all five pages have opened to a specific post. In this case it is ‘ODT on Electoral Finance Bill’. But each page URL shows a comment URL not the main post URL. Only the page loads at the top of the page, not the comment that the URL should go to.
     
    That last issue – loading to the top of the page, not the comment itself, had been happening on and off recently. But it still loaded the right page. Over the weekend, it’s not even going to the right page. It does seem to resolve itself eventually though and go back to normal

    edit: just seen that the ODT post is not new, but dates from December 12th, 2007

    • felix 5.1

      I too have come across this bug a few times in the past month or so.

    • deuto 5.2

      I have also experienced this intermittently for quite a long time, but usually find that the second click on the comment I was originally seeking comes up.

      Not complaining though, as I have ended up reading some really interesting old posts – for example yesterday I ended up with this relevant one from August 2007 – Why does John Key want to sell Air New Zealand?

      http://thestandard.org.nz/why-does-key-want-to-sell-air-nz/

    • lprent 5.3

      I will have a look at it. That has got to be a problem in the database index structure because I didn’t put cloudflare on until late in the evening… At least that is what I will look at first.

      BTW: I’ve fixed the permalinks on comments. Dropped the page number. It was a pain with links on posts with comments getting “lost” when a new page started.

  6. Ianmac from Vietnam 6

    It is easy to be sidetracked by stats and dollars when thinking of Christchurch. The story of Elsie Locke brings home the powerlessness of those in the East of Christchurch:
    “However, since September the 4th 2010, anyone connected to Christchurch has had their lives changed forever. Due to two devastating earthquakes and all the smaller ones in between huge parts of Christchurch have been damaged beyond repair. The Avon Loop community was badly damaged, and this time the people have had no power or control over the fate of the community. No means to take part in the subsequent decisions made by the Government regarding the ongoing occupation of the Loop or what will become of the area in the future………”
    http://www.projectfreerange.com/heartbreak-despair-and-life-lessons-in-earthquake-town-discovering-we-dont-actually-have-absolute-rights-to-our-land-and-homes/

  7. BillODrees 7

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-maher/todd-akin-republicans_b_1826617.html

    Bill Maher has an excellent article in he Huffington Post that resonate a bit of Paula Bennett, John Key, Hekia Parata and Bill English. 

    ” Or as it’s known on Capitol Hill, supply-side economics. Remember that magic beans theory? That you actually bring in more revenue by bringing in less? Ronald Reagan believed it. But at least back in the ’80s it was new. The thing is, we tried it, and it doesn’t work. Yet, Paul Ryan, who every shit-for-brains pundit in America keeps telling us is a “serious” guy, still believes in the supply-side theory. All the Republicans do. They all believe in something that both science and history have shown to be pure fantasy. The symbol for their party shouldn’t be an elephant — it should be a unicorn.” 

    A great read. 

    • joe90 7.1

      Sort of sums things up Bill.

      http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/hurricane-isaac-2012-12058876

      The influential conservatives in this country are now dedicated to nothing less than the ultimate delegitimization of the concept of a national self-government. Some of them are in it for the bucks; state governments are more easily bought and controlled. Some of them are in it out of pure ideology, and out of tired ideas that already have caused far too much historical mischief. Some of them are in it because, frankly, they don’t know any better. But the overriding goal of the modern conservative movement, which its adherents will make obvious no matter how truncated their convention is this week, has been to make something alien out of something that is essentially ours and, historically, the best vehicle through which to exercise our better selves, as a people and a country.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      Remember that magic beans theory? That you actually bring in more revenue by bringing in less? Ronald Reagan believed it. But at least back in the ’80s it was new.

      No it wasn’t. It was tried in the US just prior to the Great Depression. Amazingly enough, what that paper shows is actually the reverse of what it says it shows. If the people who were obviously not paying their taxes had paid them then the taxes paid would have been far higher than what was paid after the tax cuts. I also suspect that after WW1 the US government probably paid more attention to tax dodges.

      Also interesting to note that the lower taxes resulted in exactly what we’ve just seen – a bubble in the financial sector and then a crash.

      • RedLogix 7.2.1

        In fact you can see high tax rates on high incomes as a perfectly sensible mechanism for preventing fiscal bubbles.

  8. lprent 8

    Just a warning. This evening I will be looking at fixing the cloudflare issues from this week. There may be some odd effects.

  9. fnjckg 9

    wow. TS has definitely changed for the better across recent time
    i enjoy reading it more
    keep cleaning out those Bertie germs
    keep reaching forward
    Rock On!

    (RL: interesting points made)

    And, now for The Newz

    S-B film-maker “kicks hornets nest”

    Asset sell-off DEFER
    deference helpful

  10. prism 10

    I heard Dunne Revenue Minister defending the wealthy as paying the correct tax it only appears that they’re not because of changing dates for tax reshuffling. Keep the comfortable ones on side LIBerace. And of course he doesn’t want any change to the MMP that has given him his Position of Importance.

    We have till the 7th September to put final ideas forward. on MMP. There appears to be a concerted effort to drown out individual opinion by people going online with a form letter approach. Those who have an individual even slightly left position are needed to provide a balanced view! If you go into archives here there will be a piece with a link so easy peasy for you.

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  • Guide to economic evaluation part 3: What is agglomeration?
    Debates over major transport investments often get caught up in arguments over benefit-cost ratios, or BCRs. In recent years, projects such as the Transmission Gully and Puhoi to Warkworth motorways and the City Rail Link have been criticised for their...
    Transport Blog | 30-07
  • Where to now for Colin and the Conservatives?
    It’s (almost*) official – there’s no deal for Colin Craig in East Coast Bays. Murray McCully will not be knifed, thrown under a bus or given concrete shoes to go swimming in. Given that Mr Craig had already accepted he...
    Occasionally erudite | 29-07
  • Real men say sorry
    There are a couple of universal truths that all men should be aware of. Firstly, it takes a bigger man to walk away. Of course men can be accused of being weak if they don't confront their problems with violence,...
    The Jackal | 29-07
  • Why my children took part in a playful protest against LEGO’s partner...